Love at 6,000 Degrees Celsius

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Love at 6,000 Degrees Celsius
Author: Maki Kashimada
Specifications: ISBN  978-4104695027
173 pages
13.4 x 19.4 cm / 5.4 x 7.8 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Shinchosha Publishing Co., Ltd.
Tokyo, 2005
Awards: Mishima Yukio Prize, 2005
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This novella employs Marguerite Duras' Hiroshima mon amour as a substructure and makes daring use of "L'Amant" as a narrative device, just like Duras. The action, however, is moved to Nagasaki, the other A-bombed city. "She" (the female narrator) is a woman who lives comfortably in an apartment in the Tokyo suburbs with her good-natured husband and son. One spring evening, however, the building's fire alarm accidentally goes off. It triggers something inside her and, entrusting her son to a pregnant woman in the same block, she sets out alone. The fire alarm has conjured up associations with the atomic mushroom cloud, and, driven by the urge to know more about the suffering of a city that was enveloped in that 6,000-degree cloud of death, she takes a flight to Nagasaki. There she seduces a young man she meets at her hotel. Half-Russian and half-Japanese, he is in the city on a trip to celebrate his university graduation. The woman nicknames him "Nagasaki." Realizing that she and the boy are two of a kind, she forces herself on him as the prelude to repeated sex. But the woman cannot stop thinking about her brother, who wrestled with addictions to alcohol and sex before committing suicide, and about her neglectful mother. Spurning the young man who is now begging her to marry him, the woman returns to her husband and son on the morning of the sixth day . . . A profoundly ambitious work that explores the meaning of sex and death.